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Ethiopia: Days 1 & 2

In an effort to remember all of the important details of one of the happiest weeks of our lives, I'm going to chronicle the whole trip... a couple days at a time.

We flew out of Chicago on Friday afternoon and arrived in Addis Ababa on Saturday night. Ethiopia is 8 hours ahead of us, and we had a brief stop in both Amsterdam and Sudan, which added a few hours to our overall trip. Next time we'll fly Ethiopian Air for a more direct and shorter route. 

We got in on Saturday night around 9:00 pm and since it was dark, we weren't able to see much of the city. Our driver from our adoption agency picked us up at the airport and brought us to our guest house (kind of a mix between a hotel and a home). We asked him to come back first thing in the morning so that we could go to the care center to see our boys. I think our exact words were, "How early is too early?". We knew we wouldn't sleep much, and we were ANXIOUS to get our hands on the boys!

So, he came the next morning around 9:00 to take us to the center. The drive there was really interesting. There are no traffic laws in Ethiopia, no lanes on most roads, and no police that patrol the streets. Pretty much anything goes, with cars weaving in and out of each other. It's super chaotic and you would think there would be tons of accidents, but there really aren't. People drive slower and are less aggressive and more courteous, so they make it work. 

The drive to the care center took 15-20 minutes, and I could tell when we were getting close because we pulled down this dirt alley and started slowing down. As the car slowed down, our hearts began to race! Our driver rang for the gate to be opened and one of the nannies came to get us. She walked us through one large room with lots of babies in it over to a smaller room across the hall. Immediately when we walked in, we saw Jacob standing up in his pack-n-play looking at us. I think I said, "There he is." and started to cry. The nanny in his room picked him up and handed him to me, and I kept looking at him and saying, "Hi, Baby." I was trying to hold back tears and not scare him by crying and it was the only thing I could think to say at the time. 

We saw that Josiah was sleeping in the crib next to him, so we took a little time looking in on him while he slept, and then decided to let him sleep while we took Jacob in the hallway to play with him. We played with Jacob for about 15 minutes (basically watched him crawl up and down the hallway and up the stairs the whole time) before Josiah woke up. When they were both awake, we took both of them into the hallway and passed them back and forth between the two of us. We absolutely marveled and delighted in everything about them. 

We spent about 5 hours at the care center on Sunday, mainly playing with and holding our boys, but also taking pictures for other adoptive families and hanging out with some of the older children at the care center. It was a perfect day. We loved our boys, we loved the other children at the care center, we loved the nannies and were so grateful for the love and affection that they show to the children. All of the children were well cared for and well loved and it was a blessing to be even a small part of it for a day. 

We don't know what it's like to experience the natural love you feel for a biological baby, but I can attest to a very natural love that we felt for our boys. When we saw them, there was absolute DELIGHT in them and LOVE for them. It was the consummation of years and years of waiting and praying for children and then specifically almost 6 months of praying earnestly and specifically for them. We had stared at their pictures and watched little videos of them from thousands of miles away, and finally we were with them, holding them in our own arms. When we walked in and saw them, our hearts almost burst. We didn't have to convince ourselves to love them or to delight in them, it was just there in abundance. I can't remember many other times of such intense emotion- love, thankfulness to God, delight, overwhelming joy, and fullness. A day we'll never, never forget. 


Rachel Jones said...

Hooray - I love hearing the stories again and all the special little details. The boys are so fortunate to have you as their mommy!!!

Hillary said...

I am in tears! A whole flood of emotion came back to me while reading this post. You are totally right though, that is a day you will NEVER forget.

Congrats again...sniff sniff. :)

Rochelle said...

Wow, so neat to hear these details, thanks for sharing!!! I got all choked up just imagining you there, seeing them in person for the first time with those details you gave. So incredibly neat - can't imagine the flood of emotions. How great that you got to love on the other kids and take pictures for other adoptive families too - such a crucial thing, as you guys experienced waiting to be the ones there instead of on the other end of the computer screen. So neat, so glad it was such a week full of happiness like no other!!

Chad, Kim and Kassidy De Jager said...

Definitely brought tears here too... So happy for the detailed update! Looking forward to more to come. :)

Corrie and Phil said...

Thank your for sharing your beautiful journey with all of us. I delighted in the number of times you used "delight" in your post. What an amazing experience! :)

Katie Willemssen said...

Can't wait to hear more about the trip! So happy for you guys!